Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/139

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129
LITERARY NOTICES.

parte, Wilson, and other celebrities, visited the location; and the names of some, cut by themselves in the bark of one of the old beeches that guards a famous spring, are still to be deciphered. Such is the neighborhood which Mr. Abbott has explored for its natural history resources, and the results of which are described in these "Rambles about Home." His book is most entertaining. It is written in a simple, unaffected, and entirely untechnical style, and the reader becomes at once interested wherever he dips into the book. Mr. Abbott writes constantly of what he has himself seen, and he has been a painstaking and indefatigable searcher of all kinds of curious and interesting things in the life-history of the beasts, birds, fishes, and reptiles which belong to his immediate region. It is unnecessary to give illustrations here of his way of working, as we have already quoted from his teeming pages in the August "Monthly"; but we cordially recommend the volume to those in search of useful and agreeable reading as one of the pleasantest books of the season.

The Discoveries of America to the Year 1525. By Arthur James Weise. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 380, with Maps. Price, $4.50.

This book bears the marks of industrious research in fields that have not yet been overworked, and which offer irresistible allurements to the historical inquirer. Starting with the assertion that "America in the early ages was one of the inhabited parts of the earth," the author accepts as historical the story of Atlantis, which is said by Plato to have been told by the Egyptian priests to Solon, and repeats it, while he finds confirmation of a part, at least, of its incidents in the biblical account of the first men. He discredits the relations of the discoveries of America by the Northmen as resting "more upon conjecture than evidence." Then, reviewing briefly the stories of the voyage of the Welsh Madoc and of the discoveries of the Zeni brothers, and the travels of Marco Polo and Sir John de Mandeville, he finds himself at last upon safer ground in treating the history of the voyages of the early Portuguese navigators, and Columbus, and of those who followed them. The whole is enriched with copious citations from the mass of literature on the subject, ancient and modern, much of which is rare. On this point the author remarks that the writing of his work "required the personal examination of many old and rare books, manuscripts, and maps, besides the perusal of a large number of recent papers and publications relating to its subject. The task further demanded a careful review and comparison of the various statements of historical writers concerning the voyages of the persons whom they believed to have been the discoverers of certain parts of America. . . . It seemed to me that some of the information contained in the different works which I had examined should be presented in the language of the writers, or in faithful translations, so that the intended significance of the information could be perceived by the reader." Thus, by its matter, and the way in which it is presented, the work is one of great value and unusual interest.

Samuel Adams, the Man of the Town-Meeting. By James K. Hosmer. Baltimore : N. Murray. Pp. 60. Price, 35 cents.

This sketch, which is based on studies for a new life of Samuel Adams, is one of the "Johns Hopkins University Studies" in Historical and Political Science. Its aim is, first, to present a life-like picture of the New England town-meeting in its purest state as illustrated in the meetings of Boston town in colonial times; and, second, to exhibit Samuel Adams as the conspicuous leader of the town-meeting, and as one of the ablest as well as one of the purest managers of men in our, history. The tracing of Adams's work in the under-currents of politics is very clear; and from it he appears as a principal though not always an open director of the movements, in the South as well as in the North, that resulted in the Revolution.

On the Nature of Light. By George G. Stokes, M. A., F. R. S., etc. London: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 133. Price, 75 cents.

Professor Stokes, having been appointed to deliver three annual courses of lectures, on the endowment of John Burnett, of Aberdeen, chose "Light" as his general subject, and devoted the four lectures of the first course to a discussion of the nature of